And now, decades since I was last admonished in this way, I find myself saying this to my children. Not my real live children, but my astronomical children: my new, expensive software that displays bizarre and undecipherable error messages when I press the go button; the new eyepiece that was going to deliver so much but must be the only eyepiece in existence that won't come to focus; the recently purchased camera that simply doesn't fit into the designated adapter. I can hear the saints now.
Why is my hobby so, well, so frustrating at times? When I was a kid my hobby was simple: get my 60mm Tasco, take the dew cap off, point and look. And while I had to settle for nice but modest lunar views and the Galilean moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn, this was enough to keep me satisfied and happy.
Nowadays I open my observatory door and wonder which part of the chain will fail tonight. The computer? The software? The optics? The equatorial mount? The camera? The power supply? There is too much in the chain not to fail! I know this sounds rather cynical and but I am not alone. We have all listened wide - eyed as a colleague has related the horror story of how their gear failed just as they were about to image the only meteor impact ever observed on Mars. So why do I persist in my "hobby" when it can cause quite considerable angst at times? Surely this is not what the function of a hobby is. Surely?
Amateur astronomy, for me as for many others, has turned into a "big boys' toys" pursuit. The unfortunate laws of physics that say the "bigger the better", rings in the ears of many like myself, striving to see further or faster or more of the sky in pursuit of our now specialised bits of what is not now a hobby for many but a seriously expensive obsession. Aperture Fever, that malady requiring endless updates to bigger and bigger telescopes is one particularly widespread condition.
But when all is said and done, there are moments when the telescope hums and the images are crystal clear and the sky is ablaze with stars that make me realise that deep - down my obsession is still, at heart, the same hobby that I enjoyed as a little boy so many years ago.
And that's more than enough to placate the saints.
Have you got a "Horror Story" about your life in Astronomy? Let me know at The Amateur Astronomer!